Names like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are the poster children of the world of Entrepreneurs.

However, the list of famous entrepreneurs is ever-changing, as is the method of how they achieved their success. Names like Elon Musk and  Jeff Bezos have risen to the ranks. Though, their way to success is drastically different from how it was ten years ago.

In this article, we will comprise a list of some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs and what you can learn from their success. Sure, not everyone is looking to become the next Bill Gates, but however small your goal may be, learning from the best is what will distinguish you from the competition.

What Is Entrepreneurship?

The motivation to take initiative despite the risk of failure, or the desire to innovate and make an impact – that’s what entrepreneurship is all about. It calls for the uncommon skill set of perseverance, deliberation, and management skills. Especially with increased competitiveness nowadays, these traits are more important than ever. 

A successful entrepreneur must possess qualities that show their willingness to go above and beyond to reach their goal. This means they have to be able to learn from their mistakes to make wiser decisions with time. However, ambition and a willingness to seize opportunities by taking the initiative when needed are most important. These qualities determine success in an entrepreneur. 

That is also what differentiates the top entrepreneurs from others. They saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market and took it. Here’s how:

Who are the Most Famous Entrepreneurs of our Time?

There is an endless list of famous entrepreneurs. Yet, it is the top names that are most intriguing. But what determines their success? How do you measure and compare it? 

Elon Musk 

Of course, the first name that we think of in our current economy when we hear the words “famous entrepreneur“ is Elon Musk. With a net worth of $269 billion, he sits right on top of the list of the most successful and famous entrepreneurs.

Though he is the co-founder of famous companies like PayPal and SpaceX, that’s not what he’s known for. By investing $6.5 million into Tesla in 2004, he became the CEO of the world’s largest electric vehicle company, despite not being its founder. Before he became a shareholder of 17%, Tesla was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003. 

What can you Learn from Elon Musk?

He started by launching his first company in 1995, Zip2, with his brother Kimbal Musk. He sold this company for $300 million in 1999. Instead of settling with that money, they chose to found an online financial service company, known today as PayPal. With the money he made, through eBay acquiring PayPal for $1.5 billion in stock, he built yet another company, Space Exploration. 

His most important accomplishment however is becoming co-founder and chairman of Tesla in 2004, one year after its founding. In 2007, he became CEO after several conflicts with one of the co-founders, Eberhard, who was then ousted from the firm. During a financial crisis starting in 2008, Musk risked much of his personal wealth in 2009 by investing it into Tesla.  At this time, he famously lived off of personal loans from friends. 

If there’s a lesson to learn from Elon Musk, it’s to take risks. Sometimes not even calculated ones. It’s best said in his own words, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.“ 

Jeff Bezos

Not far behind Musk is Bezos, owner of the largest eCommerce marketplace Amazon, with millions of customers worldwide and a net worth of $187 billion. He was only recently surpassed as the wealthiest man in the world by Musk in 2021, which says enough about how successful he is. 

Here you can see a great example of how different the approaches are of the two most famous entrepreneurs alone. One started big, with ideas and risks that were even bigger, and the other started as small as can be. By selling books online. 

What started out small, grew dramatically in size. Bezos‘ business idea of delivering books within 30-days in the US grew immensely during the first month. It was so successful that after launching his company in 1994, he started making $20,000 per week. This led to the quick expansion of his business. He started by expanding shipping to 45 foreign countries and adding more categories like CDs, clothes, electronics and more. 

Despite almost going bankrupt and having to vacate several of its distribution centers, Bezos succeeded in turning the tables by launching Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2002. Amazon quickly grew into today’s leading e-retailer, with $470 billion in net sales.  

What lesson can you learn from Jeff Bezos? 

Start small, earn a reputation by being the best at what you do, and you’ll grow big. 

Instead of spreading your talents thin, do one thing consistently and good enough to make money through it. Find the thing you know you’re good at. Find something that others might have failed at or even something that is missing from the market, and fill that gap. 

William “Bill“ Gates 

Someone who can’t be missing from the list is, of course, Bill Gates. He is known as an author, investor, philanthropist, as well as CEO, founder, and chief software architect of Microsoft. He is worth $133 billion and is still known to this day as one of the most important figures in the revolution of the PC.

Until 2017 he was titled the richest person in the world, and despite losing the title, it doesn‘t in any way diminish his success. 

Gates is known for his competitiveness and intelligence. These traits are ultimately what shaped his success. According to him, the reason for it was starting early in his life. He and Paul Allen were working with computers when they were just 13 years old, trying to decipher how they worked. 

He even dropped out of Harvard to pursue his passion and start his own business after the launch of Altair 8800. Furthermore, he took this risky chance, confident in his abilities, and it ultimately became his success story. In 1975, Gates and Allen received a deal from MIT. This led to the founding of their company, formerly named “Micro-Soft“ (now written without the hyphen).

Ten years later, they launched their first copy of MS Windows. This became the standard in computer technology. Now Microsoft has interests in other companies as well, such as Skype, LinkedIn, and others. 

What is Bill Gates‘ Advice?

Start early at becoming the best.

He spent most of his time as a teenager working with computers and creating programs. This led to him developing the Windows operating system, making him relevant to this day. Starting early made him confident enough to drop out of college to pursue an idea that might’ve seemed impossible at first.


These examples of success aren’t just a list of the most famous entrepreneurs. After all, money shouldn’t be the main factor that determines the importance of a businessman. Instead, they’re perfect examples of those who have gone above and beyond to achieve their goals.

Tesla has been a driving force in stopping the acceleration of climate change by creating sustainable transportation. Not to mention the company’s ambition to make this transportation more accessible for everyone. Microsoft has revolutionised personal computers and made them what they are today. And Amazon has made accessible what once was thought to be impossible.    

These entrepreneurs have shaped our lives in many ways, and that is what makes them important.                                                                                               

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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